He stood on the first row of the risers singing his heart out (when he wasn’t elbowing the girl next to him). He clapped and sang and sat when he was supposed to. As I watched him I couldn’t help but reflect on the heritage that our family has in the Church of the Nazarene and the importance of the role the church has played in all our lives. You see, my grandsons are fifth generations Nazarenes.
Pastoring a church and raising a family isn’t always easy, and to be honest, my wife was left with much of the responsibility. But we found time to create strong bonds with our children. Times as simple as the evening meal. It was an important tradition for us. From the time they were old enough to talk we would gather around the table and pray. As we ate we found many things to laugh about. Our home echoed with laughter.
We also found ways to remind our two girls of the incredible honor of being a pastor family. They witnessed the people of the church caring for us and bringing by produce or filling our freezer with meat. They saw first hand the advantage of being able to take time away to attend a General Assembly or having their dad at church camp with them. Yes, they also saw and heard some things that disappointed them in the church but we always tried to remind them that those actions did not reflect the church, just certain people in the church.
Today our girls are grown, married and each have two boys. They are part of dynamic churches and give their mom and dad reason to be proud. But it all started when they were young, around a dinner table laughing and praying with their parents.
Now it’s exciting to see them working to teach their boys the same principles that we tried to teach them. At times we thought we had failed, but their lifestyle now shows us we did better than we imagined.
Augusten Burroughs said, “I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.” I can identify with his thought yet it’s comforting to know that our girls understood our good intentions as well as our flaws. If we’re honest with one another, a parsonage is a wonderful place to raise a family.